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Draft Profile: Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard: SG – Duke, turns 21 on June 24

Measurables: 6-6, 202 lbs.

Strengths: Shooting, Scoring, IQ, Pump Fake, Work Ethic

Weaknesses: Defense, Lateral Quickness, Length, Strength

Conclusion: Kennard took control of the Blue Devils as 1-A or 1-B on offense alongside Jayson Tatum, which resulted in Grayson Allen opting to return for another year. Kennard was one of the most improved players in the nation, and his best asset is three-point shooting, a skill that is increasingly necessary for perimeter players to survive in the NBA. As a sophomore, Luke sank 2.4 treys per game on 43.8 percent while averaging 19.5 points (49.0 FG, 85.6 FT) and 2.5 assists to 1.6 turnovers. Kennard boasts quick, efficient moves, and he possesses an impressive shot fake that defenses must respect. I likened him to fellow lefty rocket-launcher Joe Ingles back in the beginning of the season. However, the main difference between the two is height and wingspan. Ingles is 6-8 with a 6-10 wingspan, and he has been harassing a former Duke sharpshooter (J.J. Redick) during the first round who’s closer to Kennard in terms of size. Unlike Redick though, Kennard can handle the ball a little bit, and he’s probably a tad underrated as a driver and secondary playmaker. This is why I like the comparison to Ingles – who dropped 11 dimes in Utah’s Game 4 win over L.A. Ingles turns 30 soon and just recently came to the NBA after playing professionally in Australia, Spain, and Israel for almost a decade. Meanwhile, J.J. was not an immediate factor in the league despite remaining at Duke for all four years. In other words, whoever drafts Kennard should not expect him to step in and be solid right away. If Luke’s defense improves as he continues to grow stronger, there’s plenty of reason to expect he will have a long and successful career as a role player in the NBA.

Projection: No. 19 overall in Ilia Shatashvili’s most recent mock draft